Note from the mamas: For the past decade or so, we’ve been on the email list for Lisa Mac Photography because she sends out these incredible photos and stories about families in Northwest Arkansas that she has the opportunity to photograph. Many of the photos are of newborns, which always make me smile when I see them in my inbox. But when we saw and read the photo story she sent a few weeks ago, it blew us away. I mean… words can’t even do it justice so thank goodness a gifted photographer was there to capture it. This story and these photos are the very definition of “miracle.” Photographer Lisa Mac and Baby Henry’s mother, Gail, gave us permission to publish the following account of what happened.
Post by Lisa Mac Photography
This post may be longest one I’ve ever done. I have been SO excited to share one of the most amazing things I’ve ever gotten to be a part of. There are LOTS of pictures, but you must read the story first.
This summer a family contacted me about a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep session. (It’s a charity where photographers go to hospitals to take pictures for families of babies who are stillborn or not expected to live so they have professional pictures of their baby. It is all free of charge, and Bedford’s Camera and Video generously prints and donates a set of pictures to the family as well.)
At 20 weeks, this local family had been told that their baby boy, Henry, had two huge issues…(1) renal failure due to urinary obstruction that affected his kidneys and (2) there wasn’t enough amniotic fluid for his lungs to develop.
They did testing with different specialists and the doctors tried twice to do in-utero surgery on the obstruction with no success. In the end, they were told there was absolutely no hope for him. Alex and Gail could have decided to terminate the pregnancy but instead prepared themselves to say hello and goodbye on the same day. They went in for weekly appointments and each time his little heart was still beating. They also met with Arora (the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency) so that after he was born they could donate his organs.
On July 1, I arrived at the hospital on the the day of the scheduled c-section and met Gail and Alex along with Mackenzie (Henry’s big sister) and multiple family members. Since they might only get a couple of hours up to a day or so with him, they let me be in the operating room during the c-section.
When precious Henry was born, he seemed to be breathing okay. Gail got to hold him for a little bit while they sewed her up and I tried to stay out of the way while capturing their first few minutes with him. He STILL seemed to be breathing okay on his own.
After a bit, they took him to the side of the room to get his footprints and to weigh him. They took off his diaper to weigh him and…he peed. (So NOT total renal failure!!) Internally I was wondering what in the world was going on because he sure seemed to be doing much better than the doctors had anticipated.
They took him to a transition room and ordered a chest xray and ultrasound of his kidneys and put him on some oxygen. Gail was taken to a recovery room and Alex never left Henry’s side.
Apparently there had been just enough fluid for Henry’s lungs to develop AND he peed a couple more times! The team switched gears and told Alex they were going to start treating Henry like a NICU baby and they put him in an isolette.
We all went to the recovery room where Gail and the rest of the family were waiting. It was then that they told them that they wanted to send Henry to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for him to see some specialists there. This is Grandma Terri’s reaction to seeing his sweet little face for the first time.
Within a couple of hours, little Henry and his daddy flew on a helicopter to Children’s for testing and to keep an eye on his kidneys. Gail and one of the grandmas sent me updates every couple of days about him. He was breathing just fine on his own and his creatinine levels kept improving more and more. These are a few of the ones they sent.
Three weeks later, Henry was released not only from the hospital, but from the nephrologist and urologist. He was PERFECTLY HEALTHY. They had wonderful friends who came over and helped prepare a nursery for him before they got home. They didn’t have it ready since they’d thought they were going to have such a short time with him before he passed away from the complications he’d been diagnosed with. Gail sent this to me the day they left the hospital…
After they’d been home a few days, I contacted Gail and asked if we could finish little Henry’s session at my studio. At the session he didn’t want to sleep for quite a while, but I sure did not care. I loved having that time to hold him. Below are some of my favorites from his session. Here is the little miracle baby boy, Henry Oliver.
This was when we had to tell Henry that his grandma wasn’t going to get to come to the session that day…
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” – PSALM 30:11